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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

The Story of Pironi® and Pirini®

The Pirini and Pironi varieties originate from the old French variety 'Nain vert', which is also called "Poire à bois monstrueux".

Interestingly, this variety was part of various discussions in the French pomological literature in the 19th century. In 1880, Alphonse Mas reports in his Pomology général that he had propagated the variety by seeds, and that about one-third of the seedlings were really true-to-seed and that they also looked like the parent species... At this time, Mendel was namely not yet known; the other third, which he stated, suggested a dominant inheritance of the compact growth and the control by a gene. Had Mas counted the intermediate forms to the compact ones, then he would come to an expected distribution of half with compact seedlings and half with normal growing pears.  Another pomologist, Decaisne, suggested that the compact "monstrosity" should be used as a rootstock for pears in order to reach the goal of having weak-growing pear trees analogue to Paradis 'Jaune de Metz' (which was used as a rootstock for apples and is the equivalent of today’s M9 rootstock).  Only he could not offer a solution, as the rootstock was to be propagated. It's reasonably striking that the then targeted problems and breeding objectives were not so different from today: small trees were already needed.

The pear with the thick wood and the short distance between the nodes therefore remained a botanical oddity and was never widely propagated and was rarely worked on by breeders until English breeder Frank Alston got interested in the 70's and 80's of the last century. He primarily had genetically-scientific interests, but he also wanted to combine the quality of the best pear varieties 'Conference', 'Comice' and 'Packhams Triumph' with the compact growth of 'Nain vert'. We believe that 'Pironi Little Sweety' is a crossing of 'Packhams Triumph' x ('Conference' x 'Nain vert'); 'Pironi Joy of Kent' however is a complex crossing ('Comice' x 'Conference') x ('Conference' x 'Nain vert').

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But why were the resulting compact pear varieties never introduced to the market? Perhaps Dr. Alston had not thought about the modern use of fruit trees in pots, in small gardens and on terraces, which make these growth habits so interesting today. Perhaps he primarily thought about commercial cultivation, and then the trees would have been too weak and would especially need much too long to form a large crown volume? However it was the breeding numbers were, after all, maintained in East Malling. They stood there for decades, finely and neatly drawn in the quartier books; the fruit they bore year after year fell unnoticed to the ground in autumn, and they even survived their breeder’s retirement...until I got them out of their half existence...

That was in the summer a few years ago. I worked in a raspberry field in East Malling (refer to the article “Alliance for Better Raspberries”); I was engrossed in the flavours and growth types of the raspberry experiments... and probably needed some rest, stretched and looked around. And I suddenly saw, just 20 meters away, as if I had previously been blind, a small row of trees with pears, including some super compact, extremely fertile ones. And right next to the row was my rental car, a Fiat 500 Large, which had about the same height as those 25-year-old trees had...

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That was the second birth of these mini pear varieties: a week later I wrote the first blog post about my "discovery" (which nevertheless had been made by someone else 30 years ago). In the same autumn, the fruits were tasted and the best numbers were selected. And now they are ready for first the hobby gardeners and pear enthusiasts.

Why Pirini® Myway® is the first real compact columnar pear

Columnar plants are "in". Also with pears. Columnar varieties on the market include, 'Concorde', 'Conference', 'Williams' and many more...Can all pears be reshaped and grown as columnar trees?

The hype goes back to the success of the columnar apples - to 'Malini' in our case. But they don’t become columnar by the cultivation in the nursery or by training them in the garden, but because of their genetically provided growth type. Columnar apples have extremely short distances between the buds - which makes them short and compact - and they also have a remarkable tip development. And because they almost only want to grow upwards, they form (almost) no side shoots. The short distance between the nodes prevents columnar trees from growing into the sky.

So far so good. But the "columnar pears" that are everywhere are far away from this type of growth (as are most of the columnar stone fruit trees). You ultimately simply trust that pears generally have a strong upright growth and a more slender crown form. While it is possible for most pears (i.e. 'Conference', 'Concorde', and even better for 'Obelisk') to prevent the crown formation by unceasing cutting and by training a type of vertical cordon, all of the resulting side shoots must be consistently cut back to 15 - 20 cm twice a year, in mid-June and at the end of February. Caution: despite cutting work, the height limit will become a problem sooner because the pear irresistibly urges to grow upward and because there is no brake (in the form of the short distance between the nodes - like 'Malini'). Conclusion: columnar tree training for common pears and the so-called "columnar pears" is possible; however it is and remains a bodge. It does not come about automatically, as with 'Malini', from the growth of the varieties themselves, but it is essentially against the plant.

What's different with 'Pirini Myway'? Now Frank Alston found a perfect breeding source in the old French variety 'Nain à bois monstrueux', in which the pear trees have exactly the same brake in growth as columnar apples; the distances between the buds are much shorter than that of normal varieties. Even if they grow the same as normal pear trees (the same number of leaves), the shoots would still be much shorter. While we have chosen varieties for the 'Pironi' series that readily form side shoots ('Joy of Kent' grows slightly wider than 'Little Sweety' and therefore remains rather lower), 'Pirini Myway' a variety that wants to grow strongly upwards. The suppression of the side shoots does not work quite as good as the columnar apples, but much better than conventional pear varieties. The emerging side shoots should be cut back only once at 15 cm and then forms quiet fruit wood; the plant is then only interested in upwards growth. And up there they can aim high; due to the reduced distance of the nodes to one third, 'Pirini' will never grow into the sky. Fortunately for the gardener, the way up will come to an end. 'Pirini Myway' grows up to 150 cm after a few years and has large, yellow pears.

 

 
 
 
 

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